Thursday, July 14, 2022

A Billion Star Map of the Milky Way

Ben Schmidt has published an interactive map of the Milky Way which plots the location of around one billion stars. As well as being an incredible map of our immediate stellar neighborhood Billion Point Scatterplots is a very impressive demonstration of Ben's own deepscatter library for visualizing very large datasets.

The deepscatter library is able to load data as needed as the user zooms or pans, so it is capable of displaying more data points than is normally possible in a browser. Ben has previously used the library in his All of US dot-density map of the U.S., which maps every American by race. 

The Billion Point Scatterplots map of the Milky Way uses data from the European Space Agency's Gaia Mission. Gaia is a space observatory which is being used to create a three-dimensional map of more than a thousand million stars in the Milky Way. One billion of these stars can now be explored in Ben's interactive map of the Milky Way.

As you scroll through Billion Point Scatterplots you can learn more about the deepscatter library. If you just want to play at being an interstellar astronaut, you can press the 'Hide narrative' button and pan and zoom around this billion star map of the Milky Way.

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